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Add a voice to help spend a penny

  • Angela May

We’ve all been out and about and needed a toilet, but then struggled to find one. But the lack of accessibility is hitting headlines again, so maybe it is time to lobby service providers and MPs to seriously address the issue.

David Cameron has recently (August) pledged to examine how business taxes can be alleviated to help ensure public conveniences are that- convenient. The Community Toilet Scheme goes some way to addressing that, whereby businesses that make their toilet facilities open to the public can in some areas get reduced rates. At the same time, the Welsh Assembly in its Public Health Bill specifically requires local authorities to address their strategies for toilet provision. And whereas the cost has been a strong argument by providers for closure, Network Rail has published figures showing how much revenue its station toilets generate- and make in profit.

This last helps trounce the argument about cost of provision. We all need to go to the toilet: on average we ‘go’ eight times a day. The World Health Organisation reckons up to 6million people in the UK have some degree of continence issue.

Certainly in schools, it has been proven that good quality toilets are not soiled/defaced/ vandalized to the same degree as poor quality facilities. Is it better to, instead of providing individual male, female, baby, ambulant accessible and wheelchair accessible toilets, reduce the overall number, but make what IS provided better? By law, if space is an issue, then the minimum requirement is a ‘Document M’ compliant toilet. If that is well-designed, and made a little bigger, it can encompass the needs of even more people by incorporating a drop-down adult-sized changing bench, wash/dry toilet and ideally a hoist. Would a couple of these, well-equipped and maintained, be preferable to an array of user-specific toilets?

 


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